The pandemic and our pets
Pandemics can cause a lot of disruption for everyone, even our pets. You can keep your pets safe if you, a close friend, or yourself contract COVID-19.
In these trying times, the bond between people and their pets can be very valuable. It can offer support, comfort, and companionship. If possible, both people and pets should stay together.
The key to success is preparation.
It is not uncommon to be surprised by the news that you need to isolate yourself, whether you have COVID-19 or are in close contact with someone who tested positive. If you believe there’s a possibility you may have to separate, you can prepare by taking a few simple steps. All of these are good things to keep in mind for pet owners, whether or not there is a pandemic.
If you need to get supplies but can’t leave the house, order online (many retailers are still able to supply essential products like pet food even during lockdowns) or ask friends, family, and neighbors for help. If you can’t get out, order online. Many retailers will still be able to provide essential items like pet food during lockdowns. You can also ask your friends, family, or neighbors for help, but try to avoid direct contact.
If you need to board your pet at someone else’s house or in a boarding facility, make sure that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Document all medications and their instructions (including the dosage and frequency of administration), and have crates or carriers ready in case you need to transport your pet. Check that your pets have not been infected with fleas and that their worming has taken place within the past three months.
Make a plan for the case that you are hospitalized or need to quarantine your pets or isolate them in a facility far from home. You can also arrange to have someone transport your animals.
Changes in routine can stress animals, so try to stick to a way that is as similar to your usual way as you can. Or, familiarise them with a new one and keep to it.
You can keep your dog at home if you are able to take care of their toileting needs but cannot exercise them regularly. If you have a yard, you can let your dog go to the toilet. If you are isolating your dog, there are many things you can do to keep them happy and active. You could feed your dog food, puzzle toys, or reward-based training.
If you are self-isolating and, because of the mandatory requirements, cannot leave your home to take care of your dog’s toileting needs, then it’s worth considering having someone else do so.
It’s always best to keep your cat at home, but if you are isolating them, they must have the supplies necessary, such as food, water, litter trays, toys, and hiding places.
If you’re sick
Just as you would with other people, sick people should limit contact with animals and pets. You should wash your hands both before and after interacting with animals or your pet if you’re sick. Follow the same guidelines as when you are interacting with healthy people – cover your mouth and nasal passages while coughing or sneezing.
Think of your pet as being self-isolated, just like you. It is rare, but some animals may get sick from the COVID-19 virus.
It can be stressful for all of us, and our pets are no exception. You should always follow the advice of your state or territory governments. Visit our Knowledgebase to learn more about how to isolate pets and what you can do if you have COVID-19.